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Jeff Eisenberg

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe: Pac-10 fans are 'fair weather'

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An 11th-hour influx of TV money is ultimately what prevented the demise of the Big 12, but that certainly wasn't commissioner Dan Beebe's only method of persuading his member schools not to leave.

In a June 1 email obtained by SI.com through a public records request to the University of Colorado, Beebe tells the presidents of the league's 12 schools why he believes it's in their best interest to stick together. One of his major selling points was that the atmosphere for student-athletes in the Big 12 is superior to the Pac-10's "fair weather" fans.

"For those considering possible membership in the Pac-10, I hope that full consideration is given to the student-athlete and fan experience," Beebe wrote. "I grew up in Pac-10 territory and although there are outstanding institutions in the conference, the facilities and fair-weather fans are a disappointment. I suggest that the fan support for their regular-season games and championships, and the accompanying image that projects, should be carefully examined."

Beebe's certainly right that not all Pac-10 fan bases are as passionate as Nebraska football fans or Kansas basketball fans, but the Walla Walla, Wash., native should know better than to play on that stereotype. Besides, should Pac-10 fans really have to apologize for there being more to do in Seattle, San Francisco or Los Angeles than in Manhattan, Kan., or Stillwater, Okla.?

In addition to the swipes he took at the Pac-10, Beebe also questioned whether joining the Big Ten would be a good long-term option for Big 12 schools.

"I hope full consideration is given to linking the future with a part of the country that is losing population and tax base relative to the Sun Belt," Beebe wrote. "In addition, disconnecting with the Sun Belt region may result in removing significant contact with a region where many fans and alums reside, not to mention a fertile recruiting ground for students and student-athletes."

Beebe surely wasn't expecting the contents of his email to become public, but now he'll have to deal with the consequences. Don't be surprised if he gets the silent treatment from Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany at the next commissioners' meeting.

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